Call Your Friends by Weird Beard and Time & Tide

Wednesday, 7 June 2017
Call Your Friends by Weird Beard and Time & Tide
Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Beer Name: Call Your Friends

Brewer: Weird Beard Brew Co., London, UK and Time and Tide Brewing, Deal, Kent, London, UK

Date Sampled: 5th June 2017

ABV: 9.7%

Serving Type: Bottle

Location Sampled: Home

Hot on the heels of White Cell (which I loved and you can read my review here) comes Call Your Friends, the second half of the collaboration between Weird Beard and Time & Tide.

Black IPA is a style that I hadn't even heard of this time last year but since then I have enjoyed several including Northern Rock's Dark Arches. But just when you think you've got your head around a certain genre of beer along come two forward thinking English breweries who not only decide to make their Black IPA into a double, but then think it's a good idea to dump a load of coffee into it!

That'll never work right?..... Wrong! It's bloody brilliant.

Once poured you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was a boozy double stout; it's almost jet black with a relatively heavy body and a think vanilla coloured head that sticks around well.

But things get turned around when you suck up the aroma, with fresh citrusy grapefruit and orange zinging up your nostrils.

The taste is complex but balanced. The fresh citrus is dominant up front, then there's a hint of roasted dark malts, a bit hit of bitter coffee and then an aftertaste full of grapefruit pithiness.

When I read all of that back and try and digest it in my mind it really shouldn't work but thankfully you don't drink this in your brain; my taste buds loved it!

I've been hugely impressed with both of these Weird Beard/Time & Tide collaborations and can't recommend them enough.






White Cell by Time & Tide and Weird Beard

Monday, 5 June 2017
White Cell by Time & Tide and Weird Beard
Monday, 5 June 2017

Beer Name: White Cell

Brewer: Time and Tide Brewing, Deal, Kent, London, UK and Weird Beard Brew Co., London, UK

Date Sampled: 5th June 2017

ABV: 9.7%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

Regular readers of the blog will be fully aware of my love for Time and Tide; a relatively young brewery who have consistently impressed me with their approach to beer making, especially Kraken, Spratwaffler and Domino. Weird Beard, another brewery very much in the 'modern craft' realm of producers have also established themselves with their quality and innovation; Holy Hoppin' Hell is a punchy DIPA that I loved and 7th Church of the Apocalyptic Lawnmower wins marks for being an inventive beer and having probably the coolest name in the industry!

So I couldn't help but get excited when I heard that the two breweries were collaborating and I became positively giddy when I received an early pre release package of the two beers.

I'll review 'Call Your Friends' tomorrow but tonight will concentrate on White Cell, an imperial white stout.

It pours a deep amber colour, slightly hazy, with a bright white head that laces wonderfully; it almost looks like a bitter in the glass.

The nose is stunning. Vanilla, rich cocoa, burnt caramel and fresh ground coffee are all present.

Thankfully all of those aromas follow though into the flavour. The creamy vanilla and burnt caramel are first up, followed by a bitter finish of dark chocolate and fresh brewed coffee. It's like having a crème brulee followed by a very posh mocha!

The almost double figure ABV is completely hidden beneath the amazing depth of flavour and, along with the smooth mouth feel, ensures that the total package is one of luxury.

The first part of this collaboration between Time & Tide and Weird Beard is a definite success and White Cell is definitely one to pick up when it goes on general release on 16th June... pop back tomorrow to see my review of part two.





Hazemaker by Northern Monk, Verdant & Deya

Friday, 2 June 2017
Hazemaker by Northern Monk, Verdant & Deya
Friday, 2 June 2017

Beer Name: Hazemaker

Brewer: Northern Monk Brew Co., Leeds, England; Verdant Brewing Co., Falmouth, Cornwall, England; Deya Brewing Company, Cheltenham, England

Date Sampled: 1st June 2017

ABV: 7.4%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

When I heard that Northern Monk, Verdant and Deya were collaborating on an IPA I knew I had to get hold of a can. All three have already produced beers this year that have a good chance of featuring in my top ten of 2017; Northern Monk's Passion Fruit Lassi IPA was bonkers but brilliant; Verdant's Putty was a stonking NE style IPA; Deya's Into the Haze is one of the most crushable beers I've ever had.

So is Hazemaker a knock out?

Well the artwork certainly is! The Northern Monk Patrons Project is becoming renowned for stunning can design and Hazemaker is no different. In fact this vintage style image of two moustachioed boxers by Jon Simmons is one of the best beer labels I've ever seen.

Sadly the beer inside was slightly disappointing.....

It looks great in the glass, not actually as hazy as I was expecting but a lovely light orange colour and a bright white head that laces well.

The aroma is as you would hope; fresh mango, apricot and grapefruit stand out, but there's also a slight yeasty undercurrent that I found a little jarring.

It does have a really smooth body and feels lovely in the mouth.

But it's on tasting that things don't quite live up to expectations; the aroma has you bracing for an uppercut of fruit juice flavours but it's more of a pawing jab... elements of grapefruit and then apricot do follow through from the nose but it's more delicate than I both expected and hoped for. It has a reasonably dry finish and there is very little evidence of the 7.4% ABV.

Don't misunderstand me, Hazemaker is a good IPA and it is incredibly crushable. But when these three breweries got together I was expecting magic....the result for me was somehow less than the sum of all of it's parts. And when you consider the standard of beers being turned out in the UK at the moment, especially but Northern Monk, Verdant and Deya, a beer needs more than a great label to really stand out.







Half Cut by Magic Rock and Other Half

Monday, 29 May 2017
Half Cut by Magic Rock and Other Half
Monday, 29 May 2017

Beer Name: Half Cut

Brewer: Magic Rock Brewing, Hudersfield, England with Other Half Brewing, New York, USA

Date Sampled: 20th May 2017

ABV: 8%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

Half Cut is the second collaboration that Magic Rock released this month. The first, Grower Owned, was a great beer and you can read my review here.

The second is Half Cut, a NE style double IPA brewed with Other Half, a hugely popular craft brewery from New York.

It certainly looks great, pouring a hazy dark burnt orange with a white head that laces well.

It has a very punchy aroma, with tropical mango and candied citrus peel dominating.

Half Cut is relatively well carbonated but has only a medium body that wasn't as creamy as I'd expected.

Like the aroma, the flavour is not delicate. The mango and sweet citrus stand tall at first, then there's a hearty smack of sticky pine before a moderately bitter finish. Running beneath all of this is a fairly prominent alcohol hit.

I'm a little bit on the fence over this beer; I'm not adverse to a boozy pop of alcohol, especially in a beer of 8% ABV.... but..... I've drunk some cracking DIPA's in the last six months that have been chock full of flavour yet provide not even a hint of alcohol in the taste profile.

I can see a lot of people really enjoying this DIPA and it simply come down to personal preference and what you're looking for in a beer of this style.

It's good but it hasn't blown me away and, if given a choice of Magic Rock Beers, I'd rather have a can of their recent DIPA Human Cannonball.





Into the Haze by Deya

Wednesday, 24 May 2017
Into the Haze by Deya
Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Beer Name: Into the Haze

Brewer: Deya Brewing Company, Cheltenham, England

Date Sampled: 20th May 2017

ABV: 6.2%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

Originally self labelled as a Gypsy Style Brewery, Deya finally found themselves a permanent base when they moved into a Cheltenham warehouse facility in early 2016. Since then their range and their reputation has been on the increase and today, thanks to The Beer Musketeer, I've finally tried my first Deya.... and if Into the Haze is anything to go by, this brewery is going to be huge!

Into the Haze looks every bit a NE style IPA; hazy burnt orange with a crisp white head which offers pretty good lacing.

The aroma is chock full of soft ripe mango, pineapple and apricot... its a veritable fruit salad!

It has a ridiculously soft mouthfeel; I've never taken a bite of a cloud but if I did I imagine this is what it would feel like!

All of this fruit flavours carry through into the taste, with tropical ripe mango dominating. But it's not overly sweet, with just enough citrus bitterness on the finish to get your saliva glands oozing.

The combination of hoptastic fruit flavour and super soft mouth feel makes Into the Haze one of the best NE style IPAs I've had. Deya have worked wonders here and I'll be seeking out more of their beers as soon as possible.




Grower Owned by Magic Rock with YCH Hops

Monday, 22 May 2017
Grower Owned by Magic Rock with YCH Hops
Monday, 22 May 2017

Beer Name: Grower Owned

Brewer: Magic Rock Brewing, Hudersfield, England with YCH Hops, Oregon, USA

Date Sampled: 20th May 2017

ABV: 6%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

Magic Rock, one of the forefathers of the UK craft beer scene, have received some criticism in the last year or so for the lack of innovation amongst their core range. However in the last few months they've had something of a mini renaissance; Human Cannonball and Unhuman Cannonball were very impressive and now they've dropped two limited edition collaborations that have blown me away.

I'll come on to Half Cut, their collaboration with Other Half, in a future blog post. Today I'm focussing on Grower Owned, an IPA that they've put together with Karl Vanevenhoven from YCH Hops. YCH are an Oregon based grower-owned producer of hops who are committed to supplying their products to the craft beer industry. It's therefore not a huge surprise that the beer they've created is a hop heavy IPA.

It pours a lovely hazy orange colour with a fast disappearing white head.

The aroma hits as soon as you crack the can; sweet mango, citrus and a healthy amount of pine smacking you clean in the face.

It has a lovely smooth mouth feel and straight from the fridge feels hugely refreshing.

So the taste? Yeah it's pretty bloody good! The fresh ripe mango flesh is first up, but this doesn't last long before being superseded by a big old smushing of pithy grapefruit with a hint of sticky pine. And it's the citrus that dominates the dry finish.

Grower Owned may not be as full of tropical fruitiness as some of the recent hop forward IPA's but that dry finish is something that I really enjoy and helps make this a very refreshing beer. I think it's great and hope that this is a shape of things to come from Magic Rock.







ThaiRannoCitrus by Staggeringly Good

Friday, 19 May 2017
ThaiRannoCitrus by Staggeringly Good
Friday, 19 May 2017

Beer Name: ThaiRannoCitrus

Brewer: Staggeringly Good Brewery, Portsmouth, England

Date Sampled:  18th May 2017

ABV: 4%

Serving Type: Can

Location Sampled: Home

So this blog is getting on for eight months old now... and considering the subject matter and where I am based it's a bit of a travesty that this is the first review I've posted of a beer by Portsmouth based Staggeringly Good.

That's not to say I haven't been drinking them because I definitely have; Dawn Stealer was one of the first Black IPA's I ever had, their Keg Launch in the Wine Vaults last October was a great night of awesome beer and Velocirapture, especially the recent batch, is amazing. And then there is the Staggeringly Good Taproom which is a great venue and is worthy of it's own blog post so I'll save that for another day! In short, they are a great brewery turning out cracking beer and are definitely on the up.

ThaiRannoCitrus, an IPA brewed with Kaffir Lime leaves, is part of their core range and as of yesterday is the first beer that Staggeringly Good have released in cans. So I figured that was an ideal excuse to pop to the brewery, grab a couple of cans (and a dinoglass) and finally post my first Staggeringly Good review.

As with all of the their beers, ThaiRannoCitrus is totally unfined, and it pours with a very attractive golden yellow haze. It has a small white head which laces pretty well.

The Kaffir Lime leaves are prominent on the nose, along with hints of soft tropical fruits and pine amongst the citrus.

It has a moderate carbonation but has lovely soft mouth feel.

The fresh citrus comes through first on tasting, there's a bit of pine bubbling away but then the finish has a nice pithy citrus bitterness to it. None of these flavours though are over powering and the final result is an aromatic but very well balanced and easy drinking IPA.

Staggeringly Good are just one of several brilliant breweries that we are blessed with here on the South Coast; I'll bring you some more of their range very soon!



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